Friday, June 10, 2011

Two Opposite Extremes

I've slumped. It happens to the best of us.

Summer's been an interesting period for me musically so far; I haven't really had the motivation to do much of anything, to be perfectly honest. The feeling of un-inspiration, if you will, hits every musician from time to time, and I've found myself... well, not being able to write. Which is hard, considering there's still deadlines for this musical. Luckily, a few things I've been listening to recently may have sparked my creative juices again.

The first being something I don't usually enjoy: SHOW TUNES!

Longtime buddy ol' friend and collaborator Andrew Fox has been working a show recently titled The Best Is Yet To Come: The Music of Cy Coleman. I called him up to shoot the shit, and he mentioned the show and offered me a comp ticket. Not being one to turn down free things that are offered to me (hey, I'm a fuckin' composer; my entire life is based on handouts) and not having anything else to do, I agreed.

Let me tell you: I'm not a big fan of Broadway songs, but I'll be damned if the band wasn't the tightest I've heard in a long time. Through 85 minutes of nonstop music they didn't drop a note, the sound was incredible and filled the entire tiny theater, and they served to liven up all the music to a degree where it was almost like being back in Coleman's times, albeit with many more microphones. The singers all performed admirably too, with my favorite being Lillias White (she was the crowd favorite too, singing about being a prostitute and ripping off her wig halfway through the show), but hats off to the band and Billy Stritch's arrangements. Wonderful.

The other is something completely different. One of my favorite bands, Unexpect, released their latest album at the end of May and it's currently been in heavy rotation in my car. Fables of the Sleepless Empire is equal parts heavy, technical, bizarre, unexpected (forgive the pun) and really hammers home the fact that the band is made up of French Canadians.

Whereas previous album In a Flesh Aquarium was as about as oddball as an album could get, Fables seems to be the natural progression of the band's sound. Off kilter rhythms and melodies still abound, as well as hairpin changes, but it's a much more focused effort. As opposed to being weird for weird's sake, the album's bizarre nature serves a purpose to the songwriting, and even if the album drags in its last moments, the beginning is more than worth the price of admission. The first two tracks in particular are some of the best in the band's catalog, with opener "Unsolved Ideas of a Distorted Guest" being my far and away favorite. It opens with bowed cymbals and those giant metal MREEEEOOOWWWWSSSS that horror composers love so much before launching into an absolutely incredible 9 string bass slap part.  And then proceeds to go all over the place. But it never loses focus even for a second, which in and of itself is astounding considering how many fucking ideas are being thrown around.

Honestly, just go buy the album. Considering you can get it digital for 9 dollars Canadian, it's a steal. Me, I prefer albums I really like in CD form (I'm an old fogey like that), but to each his own.

Coming soon: more musical work (hopefully) and a 3 song pop/punk EP being written with Mark Wudtke of The Bearing. That one might be entertaining.

1 comment:

  1. Great review of the Unexpect album!!! Honest, I've ordered it and it will arrive somewhere next week.
    Could become the best album of the year, but than again, Devin Townsend's Deconstruction is going for the kill too!!!
    Both great albums and must haves!